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One Movie Punch

Dec 5, 2018

Hi everyone!

Welcome back to the podcast. This will be one of two episodes today as we’re in the final stretch of getting caught up, both on episodes and what was happening while the podcast was offline. I’ll be continuing my story in a minute, but if you haven’t heard the earlier segments, hit pause, then go back to my review for “Outlaw King” (Episode #314) for the first segment, then listen every episode after that for another installment. Let me know you’re listening by sharing this episode with #WelcomeBackOMP.

Last segment, I was struggling with restarting the podcast, wondering if it would be possible to catchup, and still having a house to get back in order. My spouse and daughter had their last day of school on the Friday before break, with early dismissals, and I was feeling well enough to run errands, with an early dismissal lunch with my daughter to boot. It wasn’t until Saturday, after dropping my daughter off at her weekend activities that I sat down at a diner and really began planning. Not just to restart the podcast, but looking at the many other projects I wanted to work on, and the time commitments for each project. Especially the novel I had finished writing, but never started editing, and the other two novels that were mostly finished, and an anthology series I wanted to continue writing with a friend. Before the wildfire, I wouldn’t have given any of that a second thought. After the second wildfire evacuation in five years, where I loaded up a lot of those projects into boxes, well, it made me reconsider everything. And by the time I had to leave to pick up my daughter, I had figured out how to get caught up, and how to change the podcast to make room for other projects while also providing daily reviews. 

More on the upcoming changes to the podcast later this week. Stay tuned for the next episode to hear about another project I will be working on in the new year, and tune in for tomorrow’s catchup episodes about what happens when after everything else, a pipe begins leaking within your garage wall.

Today’s movie is “Nothing to Hide” (2018), the Netflix Original French comedy adapted and directed by Fred Cavayé, based on the Italian film “Perfetti Sconosciuti” (2016). The film follows a group of friends who have gathered for a dinner, where one attendee suggests that they should read aloud every text message they receive throughout the night. Now with each text message, the attendees learn more and more about each other, and in some cases, about themselves.

Spoilers ahead.

This is one of five remakes or adaptations of “Perfetti Sconosciuti” (2016), the third for 2018 alone. I’ve spoken a lot about adaptations in my review of “The Kindergarten Teacher” (Episode #293), but to summarize, adaptations of films from other countries seem pointless unless the culture or society itself has something new to offer to the premise. But every now and again, an incredible premise comes along that offers endless possibilities, like the premise for all six of these films. Seven friends get together and agree to share whatever messages come up on their phone throughout the night. And each message has the potential to create or resolve conflict, depending on the situation, and as the title maintains, end up feeling like perfect strangers to one another. The genius of this premise is that you can fill in the conflicts and resolutions however you want, really. And each remake has done just that, because each society has a different relationship with their mobile phone usage, even as each individual’s relationship is also unique. I don’t think it would be too much to suggest that the original film will also be a subject of study as well.

“Nothing to Hide” is also an incredible remake, moving the location to France, and switching up a few of the personalities and characters. We have seven people once again, three couples. A therapist and a plastic surgeon with an older child. A couple with younger children who lives with the husband’s mother. A taxi driver and his recent wife. And one man whose date was unable to make it to dinner. Right away, as each member arrives, we get to see their interactions, generally speaking ill of others not in the room, half-jokingly, half passive aggressive. And that radically escalates, especially as everyone is bullied into playing the game at first. The party slowly falls apart, then as everyone begins to leave, an incredible twist brings everything home. One which I won’t spoil for the viewer, but well worth seeing.

Overall, Fred Cavayé’s adaptation keeps great pace, and uses the apartment setting well to carry the story, realistically translating the dialogue into French and for French society. Each actor turns in a great performance, reacting to each revelation and conflict well, shifting and morphing our perceptions in the process. I would suddenly become suspicious of characters I was rooting for, and vice versa. I would also identify with nearly every character at least once, as someone who is old enough to have been at nearly every stage in the lives of each person, although never in that socioeconomic class. I am quite motivated to seek out the other adaptations, to see how they compare. I also hope that the fallout surrounding The Weinstein Company doesn’t prevent the optioned United States version to move forward, as long as you know who doesn’t get a fucking dime.

“Nothing to Hide” (2018) is a great French adaptation of the landmark Italian comedy, where long-time friends play a game that disrupts their lives. Fred Cavayé and the entire cast are brilliant, recreating and morphing the story into both new and familiar terrain. Fans of the original film, or any of the remakes, or folks looking for one of the smartest film premises in recent history, should definitely check out this film.

Rotten Tomatoes: NR

Metacritic: NR

One Movie Punch: 8.2/10

“Nothing to Hide” (2018) is rated TV-MA and is currently streaming on Netflix.